By CORY WOODROOF
Williamson County football teams are hoping to rustle the feathers of their neighbors in Rutherford County, and welcome any and all retaliation.
After all, what starts a rivalry like a little competition?
A host of WillCo football teams will be facing off against the best of Rutherford’s lot in the first WillCo/RuCo Jamboree on Thursday, Aug. 9, and Friday, Aug. 10 at 5 p.m. each night.
Each night will have four different matchups between, you guessed it, four teams from Williamson and four teams from Rutherford, sans Thursday evening, when Nolensville and Centennial will work on their own rivalry.
Williamson County Athletic Director Dr. Jeremy Qualls spoke to how the event came to be.
“It was something I wanted to do for a long time now,” Qualls said. “I feel like the best measuring stick for us has always kind of been the RuCo teams, probably vice versa.
“We have the two-largest fan bases and arguably the two best groups of teams combined, and I thought, ‘you know, we go opposite ways in the playoffs, we’re already playing in the regular season … let’s see what we can do and capitalize on the momentum of this. So we dipped the toe in the water on the jamboree this year, with hopes of turning this thing into a full-blown Week One, Week Two, Week Three, wherever we can work it in, cup-style deal.”
The vision is to one day have bragging rights and a cup for the most wins to be on the line between the two counties, Qualls says. They are in the staging process now of potentially firming up this rivalry for future seasons.
“The jamboree was good starting point,” he said.
The event coordinators also hope to use the event to see if non-fans would be interested in seeing the pre-season action.
As far as match-ups go, Qualls says Ravenwood and Oakland’s brief bout will be the one to zero in on, as both are regional champions and are poised for big seasons.
“Right now, they’re two of the hottest programs going,” Qualls said. “Anytime those two will lock up, I think it will drive a lot of interest up.”
He also recommends keeping an eye on Brentwood and Riverdale’s jamboree session.
“Two classic powerhouses that have always sustained their program at a high rate,” Qualls said. “I think that’s a great matchup.”
Qualls says Independence’s session with LaVergne will be a good time to see how the Eagles’ quarterback battle is shaping up, and if they’ll decide to use a dual-QB system.
It’s also a time to catch recent Purdue commit and Indy WR T.J. Sheffield in action.
“Two years ago, [the Eagles] go undefeated. I think the question is, ‘are they back?,’” Qualls said.
He also says the Summit/Blackman matchup will be one to see after the former’s deepest playoff run in school history in fall 2017 and the latter’s penchant for hosting D1 talent, and that Page/Siegel will show the Patriots continue to adjust to their region bump-up from 4A to 5A, now taking on 6A competition in Siegel.
Franklin High, coming off a tough 3-7 season, will look to rebound by taking on Smyrna’s Stewarts Creek, who went 4-7 in 2017.
And, Qualls says to not forget about the preview for the Nolensville/Centennial game this fall, and region-best Fairview taking on Cascade.
The all-WillCo scrimmage will be a chance to check out a couple of future collegiate athletes. Nolensville OLB C.J. Ware had an offer by Louisville last week, and QB Brandon Wharton is receiving interest from various OVC schools. Centennial RB Jariel Wilson is committed to head up to Clarksville to join Austin Peay.
“That’s going to be a game with a lot of speed in it,” Qualls said.
Fairview will also be trying to fill the gap of their Mr. Football finalist, RB Darius James, who signed with Dodge City Community College in Kansas. Though, Qualls says that QB/DB Kameron Harris-Lusk returning will only help.
“We’ve got a lot of intriguing storylines in all of these matchups in some form or fashion, so with those two fanbases, and [where] those two [are] situated, geographically-speaking, in the state, I think we ought to get a lot of traction,” Qualls said.
Tickets are $7, and all pre-sale ticket money will go to the corresponding school, per the county.
The schedule is as follows:
Thursday, Aug. 9, at Nolensville High School
5:00 p.m. – Fairview/Cascade
6:00 p.m. – Summit/Blackman
7:00 p.m. – Independence/LaVergne
8:00 p.m. – Nolensville/Centennial
Friday, Aug. 10, at Oakland High School
5:00 p.m. – Brentwood/Riverdale
6:00 p.m. – Franklin/Stewarts Creek
7:00 p.m. – Page/Siegel
8:00 p.m. – Ravenwood/Oakland
— WCSsportsConference (@wcsCOjq) August 1, 2018